Trimming a Leather Notebook to Size

«I wrote them down in my Diary so that I wouldn’t have to remember.»
Henry Jones in «Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade»

Paper has a couple of advantages — it has a physical presence, needs no battery, there is less risk of it being stolen. And sure, it has downsides as well — such as it taking up space, less privacy, or that there usually is only one copy (loss). But some of these advantages can be mitigated, e.g., taken the occasional photo of the page with the smartphone camera. Instant backup in case anything happens. Today, a mixture of paper and digital might actually be the best of both worlds.

After trying out an A5 leather notebook for a while, I was looking for something I could carry with me all the time. Given that I wear cargo pants (it’s a guy thing), I thought an A6 leather notebook would work well.

And in a sense, it does. It does fit in the cargo pockets, just barely. The pocket itself is wide enough, but the opening is tight. So it is a pain to get it in and out.

One pre-sleep idea was to simply trim the sides — if I can sew them closed with my sewing machine:

(Paper is still the best option to capture ideas at home — unless you are working on the computer at that moment — as well as in many other places. Although while walking, using the Things App is really helpful. It can put an «Add Task button» on the home screen and what else is an idea but a task to remember something.)

First step was to test whether the sewing machine — with a leather needle — could punch through the leather notebook cover. Although it wasn’t pretty, the machine punched through.

On the following photo, I had already cut off part of the side. The test stitches are in the cut-off bit to the right.

In order to cut off the same width from both covers, I placed the cut off-bit from the front cover over the end of the back cover:

Resulting in two evenly trimmed covers:

Then it was only marking where to sew. I used a uni Power Tank:

I had to round the corners, something that did not work out that well. Moreover, the sewing process is a shot in the dark. Not sure whether the thread will be strong enough. Or whether the stitches are wide enough.

I also removed the zipper handle from the inside pocket. It contributed a bit to the bulk and was a bit noisy. It can still be opened without it if needed. Although I usually simply leave it open:

Overall, it seemed to have worked out quite well:

It’s not pretty but it’s no frankenbook either, and now it fits a bit better through the pocket opening. The pages are also still protected enough. Additionally, I had to trim the divider pages a bit. I would not underestimate the ability of paper to cut through fabric — like the cargo pockets. With enough repetitions, even paper can be cut through, and carrying the book in the cargo pocket, while walking long distances each day, might just provide these repetitions.

However, overall it was okay for a trial.